Sunday, January 26, 2014

Chile's National Flower, the Copihue

The week started off with the Feria Internacional de Arte Popular, which runs through February 9th at the Parque Ecuador. It is one of the best we have been to.

Parque Ecuador is not far from where we live, so we've ended up going three times so far. Chile's "informal," or "terreno" economy, which includes barter, streetside, and non-tax-paying small shop owners, makes up 60% of its economic activity. In some areas of the world this can be over 80%.

The west end was given over to baskets. We were greeted by a church member who recognized us by our name tags, and I bought two oval baskets from him. I have not been able to find rectangular baskets I can put papers in.

The booth to the left, from Temuco, is selling silver and copper jewelry in the Mapuche style. I bought a pair of earrings that looked like little silver lilies hanging upside down. To the right is a leather worker from Chillan.

This basketmaker makes sculptures with weaving. Across the way was a display from Rapa Nui on Easter Island off the coast of Chile (and part of the Concepcion South mission).  The tall booth owner greeted us in a booming voice--he knew we were Mormons, and wanted to say hi.

Elder Kennington is looking for a new belt. He did not find one. He is carrying the two oval baskets in the bag.

 We skipped the food court, although Elder K. had to smell the hay bales and check out the baling twine--plastic, this time.

 There was even a display of plants for sale. I had to control myself. I bought a pink and white bougainvillea and a maidenhair fern on different days.

We brought home a pretty ceramic bird, and the lily-like earrings and pendant in silver and coral, which turned out to be in the shape of the national flower of Chile. It is called Copihue, or lapageria rosea, a genus with only one species of vining flower, usually in a dark coral color, but sometimes lighter pink or peach. It is also known as the Chilean bellflower, and is much loved by Chileans.

The maidenhair fern, a zip wallet from Peru, some earrings with real flowers in them, and ceramic-lined pottery. Most Chilean pottery is fired hand-molded terra cotta or black clay in the shape of footed individual cooking bowls or casserole-sized oval dishes, not thrown pottery. This was better made than most I have seen.

On Thursday, for the weaving workshop, the ladies were already well into making wall hangings. Since we were in Buenos Aires last week, I had missed the first lesson, so I observed everything I could while the ladies worked. In this photo, the weaving frame is wrapped in string or heavy yarn about 5 cm apart to form the urdimbre--warp--up and down. The green yarn is being used to anchor the threads so the more decorative trama--weft-weaving right and left--will not come loose. When finished, the wall hanging must be cut off the loom and attached by threads to dowels on the top and bottom. Some avoid this step by weaving permanently into a regular picture frame.

The loom is placed over a dibujo, drawing, and the shapes and colors will be filled in with decorative yarns. Some use shuttles and some use yarn needles to fill in the weft.

Someone had finished making a hat in the red, white and blue of the Chilean flag, and wanted Elder K. to have his picture taken in it. (The ladies missed him terribly last week.) He is modeling being a Smurf.

Not having brought my loom or any yarn, at least I could make a wall hanging design. I drew this picture of a Copihue from a photo online. I ended up making a drawing of a lily for a little sister who was a loss for a design. Most of the ladies used pre-printed drawings.

We rectified the yarn situation by stopping at a yarn shop on the way home. Most of this is seda, "silk," which is actually usually rayon or acrylic. The gorgeous unlabeled yarn is from Argentina. I finally got my Argentinian yarn.

One of the ladies who saw my Copihue drawing asked if I had ever seen one growing, and I said no. She called later and told us where we could see it blooming in a yard on Calle Lincoyan, which is conveniently near the Feria. So we took that route home and saw these beautiful hanging bells decorating the side of the house.

Now that I know what to look for, I even saw them for sale at the Feria plant section. But since the plants were 6 feet tall vines climbing on lath, and heavy in a two gallon container, I sadly didn't bring one back for my balcony garden.

One last view of the lovely Copihue, the national flower of Chile.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.